French Grandes Écoles Alumni Association reception

The Consulate General of France in New York hosted, on Wednesday April 27 2011, the French Grandes Écoles Alumni Association reception.


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Speech by the Consul General of France in New York, Mr. Philippe Lalliot:

Dear friends,

I am delighted to welcome you to the French Consulate for this spring cocktail. This new combination of lecture-plus-reception, which Anne came up with, is excellent, allowing us to combine business with pleasure.

There are two subjects—in fact two projects—that I’d like to discuss with you this evening, and for which I am going to need your help. Both concern the French presence in New York and how we can work together to improve it.

First, an observation. One thing that struck me when I arrived here a little less than a year and a half ago was the large number of institutions that promote French-American relations in one way or another. This is true with respect to both government initiatives and private institutions. Some may speak of abundance, in order to highlight their richness and depth, while others talk of dispersion, to underline inefficiency.

Far be it from me to want to impose some kind of artificial order or even worse, create a highly complex organization. But it seems to me that we would all benefit from a little more coordination, and that our interests would be better served. This should be done through concrete projects. Let me give you two examples.

Together with the French-American Chamber of Commerce, we are considering a job and internship exchange, a database that would bring together all job offers and applications that we now receive in a random way and which—let’s admit it—are not dealt with efficiently.

There is no issue that concerns our compatriots more than jobs and training. Thanks to the support of each and every one of you, our ability to offer a collective response on this crucial subject will increase tenfold. Our association, which includes more than a thousand alumni of the most prestigious French schools, can play a leading role in supporting this project.

Second—each institution and each association organizes lectures, events and receptions without spending enough time thinking about what others are doing. I am the first to plead guilty. The result is a lack of visibility, the risk of stepping on our neighbor’s turf, a dispersal of our efforts.

We are planning to create a day-by-day calendar of every French-related event in New York. This calendar will be regularly updated and accessible online. It will have the double virtue of avoiding duplication in event planning and providing comprehensive information to a larger number of people.

I could give many examples of projects where better coordination would produce greater success than we have today, such as, the annual 14th of July ceremonies, the Nine/Eleven commemorations, and many other events. As I often say, we must hunt as a pack.

I wish you all an excellent evening.

- Learn more about French Grandes Écoles Alumni Association.

Last modified on 29/04/2011

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